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Archive for February, 2012

Finding Joy in the Season of Lent -Part 1

By Marianne Buzzelli

Prayer in LentWhen we think of lent we often look only at the challenge of the sacrifices we’re asked to make. For it is a time when we focus on increasing the time we spend in prayer and fasting. But, it is more appropriate to look not at what we give up during lent, but, to recognize what we gain, and see the joy in the season of lent. How then do we find the true joy that God intends for us to have during this time of prayer and fasting?

First, as we spend more time in prayer, we come closer to God on our journey to becoming one with God. As we spend more and more time with God in prayer, we lose the attachment to self and become more like Christ. In prayer and conversation with God we place our attention on God, rather than on self. Thus, our sacrifice of time, and refraining from other activities as we devote time to prayer, allows us to find greater joy in our relationship with God.

Reflection: Let us begin today to focus on God as we devote more time to our conversation with God in prayer. Conversing with God in Lent teaches the spiritual practice of praying the Sunday Mass Reading with lectio divina. It is surely the perfect resource for Lenten devotion to assist you in your spiritual development and your relationship with God.


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Ash Wednesday – Lenten Preparation

by Marianne Buzzelli

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. The season of Lent is 46 days before Easter Sunday. In the Catholic Church the day is observed by fasting, abstinence from meat, and penance. It is on Ash Wednesday that we begin our preparation for the great celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. We recognize the significance of 40 days of fasting in preparation for Easter in imitation of the life of Jesus. We hear in the Gospels how Jesus prepared for each significant event in his ministry during his life by going away in private to fast and pray. He went into the desert to fast and pray before he began his public ministry. It was through this act of fasting and prayer that Jesus sought and received the understanding of God’s will for his life. Jesus gives us this example of the significance of solitude in our conversation with God, as well as the discipline of fasting in gaining control of our bodies as we allow ourselves to hear God’s will.

On Ash Wednesday Catholics and other Christians (Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians) receive the sign of the cross made with ashes on their foreheads. Ashes were used in ancient times as was noted in the books of the Old Testament as a sign of mourning and repentance.

Reflection: Let us begin our 40 days of preparation for the resurrection of Our Lord by offering Jesus our little sacrifices of time, service, fasting, alms, and prayer. And, offer up our sacrifices for the conversion of souls and our own holiness. The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Lent provides an excellent resource for spiritual growth and development during your lenten preparation for Christ.

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The Life and Ministry of St. John Bosco, part 2

By Marianne Buzzelli

One of the first duties of John Bosco after he was ordained a priest was to accompany another priest to visit young boys in a prison. Fr. John Bosco was appalled at the horrific living conditions for the young boys at the prison and began to work with city officials to improve them. At that time he also had a call by the Holy Spirit to care for young boys living on the streets. He began classes for them within the walls of the seminary and gave them food. Many young homeless boys came to hear Fr. John Bosco preach the Gospel and pray. His ministry grew as he sought assistance to provide shelter and food for the homeless young boys. The group of boys gathered together in the oratory increased from 20 to 400 within 5 years.

Reflection: God calls all of us to serve the poor and needy. And, it is in our every day duties as we follow the will of God, and know Him more through prayer that we become saints. You can learn more about the life of St. John Bosco and his service to the homeless boys in A Story of St. John Bosco.

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